Long-term effectiveness of immersive VR simulations in undergraduate science learning: lessons from a media-comparison study

  • Prajakt Pande Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark; and Centre for Virtual Learning Technologies, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Amalie Thit Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Anja Elaine Sørensen Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Biljana Mojsoska Centre for Virtual Learning Technologies, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark; and Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Morten E. Moeller Centre for Virtual Learning Technologies, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark; and Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Per Meyer Jepsen Centre for Virtual Learning Technologies, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark; and Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
Keywords: virtual reality, longitudinal, science education, higher education, educational technology


Our main goal was to investigate if and how using multiple immersive virtual reality (iVR) simulations and their video playback, in a science course, affects student learning over time. We conducted a longitudinal study, in ecological settings, at an undergraduate field-course on three topics in environmental biology. Twenty-eight undergraduates were randomly assigned to either an iVR-interaction group or a video-viewing group. During the field-course, the iVR group interacted with a head-mounted device-based iVR simulation related to each topic (i.e. total three interventions), while the video group watched a pre-recorded video of the respective simulation on a laptop. Cognitive and affective data were collected through the following checkpoints: a pre-test before the first intervention, one topic-specific post-test immediately after each intervention, a final post-test towards the end of the course, and a longitudinal post-test deployed approximately 2 months after the course. Through a descriptive analysis, it was found that student performance on the knowledge tests increased considerably over time for the iVR group but remained unchanged for the video group. While no within- or between-group differences were noted for intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy measures, students in the iVR group enjoyed all the simulations, and perceived themselves to benefit from those simulations.


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How to Cite
Pande P., Thit A., Sørensen A. E., Mojsoska B., Moeller M. E., & Jepsen P. M. (2021). Long-term effectiveness of immersive VR simulations in undergraduate science learning: lessons from a media-comparison study. Research in Learning Technology, 29. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v29.2482
Original Research Articles